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Did you know?
The EPA recommends every home in Middle Tennessee should be tested for Radon.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. Typically, it is found in igneous rock and soil. However, well water may also be a source of radon.
Why does the EPA say we need to test for it?
Because radon is the number one leading cause of lung cancer in Non-Smoker’s and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country.
Middle Tennessee is listed as a High probability area for radon gas. All of Middle Tennessee. There are amounts of uranium containing rock and soil in our part of the country, and these geological formations provide the perfect scenario for radon gas entry into our homes.
Real Estate Agents and brokers do not have to recommend radon testing, and many do not. Often they are untrained regarding the adverse affects of radon and its location in Middle Tennessee’s soil. According to the EPA, however, some of the highest levels of radon in Tennessee have been found in Davidson, Maury, Williamson and Rutherford counties.
Home owners should have their houses checked for levels of radon, and if worrisome levels are discovered, a mitigation system can be installed. If one has already been installed, it should be inspected.
Radon Tips for Home Sellers
We suggest testing your home for radon before putting it up for sale. If you have the time, we suggest using a long-term test. If you don’t have time for a long-term test, we recommend performing at least two short-term tests.
To save money, you can perform the initial test yourself. Your buyers, however, are more impressed by results from a qualified professional. You can check your state’s specific required licensing for radon professionals using the EPA’s list of contacts by region. Some states also require radon testing.
Once radon levels are known, you will most likely have to disclose them to potential homebuyers. If high levels of radon are detected during testing, homeowners can install a radon reduction system. Some systems can be installed in stages and the EPA has clear guidelines to help you find the right person to install this. It’s important that you retain all installation details to provide to your buyer. The first stage could bring radon levels down to an acceptable level. The home buyer may require additional testing again even if you’ve tested the the home. If the levels are not acceptable after the first stage, the installer moves forward with the remaining steps. Understandably, low radon levels are a selling point with potential homebuyers!
If you’re building a home, we suggest installing a radon reduction system now. This is much less expensive than adding it later.
EPA’s Radon Video
The EPA offers consumers a video about radon in real estate. Order a free copy by calling the Indoor Air Quality information line, 1-800-438-4318, and asking for publication number (EPA 402-V-02-003) (TRT 13.10). The more you know about radon, the better you will protect you and your family’s health.
Health Impact of Radon Exposure
- Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking and secondhand smoke are the leading causes people think of with lung cancer, but radon is also a contributing factor. Lung cancer may be treated, but has a tremendously low survival rate. Approximately 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years of detection, depending upon demographic factors. There are many cases where lung cancer can be prevented.
- Smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer. An estimated 160,000* cancer deaths are caused by smoking in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2004). Sadly, the rate is rising among women. In fact, lung cancer is now the number one cause of death among women, even higher than breast cancer. Any smoker exposed to radon increases his/her risk of lung cancer because of the combined effects of radon and smoking together.
- Radon is now the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer for smokers. There are about 21,000 lung cancer deaths related to radon each year. approximately 2,900 of these are non-smokers. Please see the World Health Organization’s international radon project
- Secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. It’s also the third leading cause of lung cancer. Non-smokers are affected when exposed them to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause serious conditions on children’s health. These conditions include: asthma attacks, respiratory tract infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, possible ear infections.